Happy Feet Two
dir-scr-prd George Miller
with Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Alicia Moore (P!nk), Ava Acres, Sofia Vergara, Common, Hugo Weaving, Richard Carter, Magda Szubanski, Anthony LaPaglia
release US 18.Nov.11, UK 2.Dec.11
11/Australia Warner 1h40
Happy Feet Two
Daddy issues: Mumble with Atticus and Erik

wood williams azaria
   See also:    Showing with:
Happy Feet (2006) I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat (2011)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Happy Feet Two Despite the fact that it's driven by a weakly developed plot, this penguin adventure is just as much fun as 2006's Happy Feet. It's a riot of colourful characters and vividly animated settings, with a few great songs thrown in to keep our feet tapping along.

Mumble (Wood) thinks he's inadequate as a father since his non-dancing son Erik (Acres) feels like such an outsider. So when Erik runs off to visit the guru Lovelace (Williams) and meet flying penguin star Sven (Azaria), Mumble follows. Meanwhile back home, an ice-shelf collapse has trapped the entire Emperor colony, so now Mumble, Erik and Lovelace's colony must find a solution. Perhaps some passing humans can help. Or a gang of tetchy sea elephants. Or maybe it'll be down to two renegade krills (Pitt and Damon) who are trying to find their individuality.

Filmmaker Miller seems to have come up with a collection of colourful characters and then strung together a flimsy story that he could work them all into. Plus the usual be-yourself message. Although it offers plenty of scope for eye-catching set pieces, the trapped-colony plot never generates much suspense. But we don't mind much since the critters are packed with hilarious personality touches and are stunningly animated down to the smallest detail. The krill-eye perspective is especially amazing.

Even if some characters get lost in the overcrowded shuffle, the lively mayhem is consistently entertaining. Aside from the loveable penguins, sea elephants and scene-stealing krills, there's a marauding flock of nasty skua, an arrogant puffin and even some live-action human rockers. Wrestling them all into the central plot doesn't really work, as everyone comes and goes rather suddenly, but the high energy level keeps the audience engaged even when Miller tries to crank up the impending doom.

Unlike the first film, this one has original songs that we can't join in on, but a beautiful central power-ballad may give P!nk (as Mumbles' wife) a shot at an Oscar. And we still get to hum along to Queen's We Are the Champions and Under Pressure, Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation, the Rawhide theme and other random pop tunes. While an emotive operatic aria is a nicely surprising touch.

cert u themes, violence] 20.Nov.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall